On the ‘must do’ list while in Darwin during the dry season is Mindil Beach Market. As the heat of the day subsides, a wander around the myriad stalls provides the opportunity to purchase unusual artisan crafts or that obligatory souvenir for those at home. More importantly, the Mindil Beach Casino Resort is right next door and the Sandbar is a perfect location to enjoy a well-earned beverage.
With a delicious antipasto platter and magnificent view of the descending sun over the Arafura Sea, I was catered.
Another spectacular Top End sunset
accompanied us to our table on the deck of The Vue restaurant.
Overlooking the infinity pool and, appropriately named, Infinity bar
we watched as the earth turned and another fabulous day came to an end.
Winter is the perfect time of year to visit friends in Darwin, especially when they own a boat.
No, not that one….this one.
We set off on a sea of glass from Cullen Bay Ferry Wharf
and rounded the headland,
before the hint of tropical houses in the suburb of Larrakeyah peeked at us through the trees.
In the distance, Darwin city cut the colour blue with a swathe of silver and green.
Larrakeyah was one of the first parts of the city to be developed, with the colony’s first hospital built in 1874. It is named after the Larrakia people, the traditional custodians of the land.
In 1869, Dr. Robert Peel, a surgeon with the first survey team, found water ‘…in a gully between Fort Point and Point Emery’. Aptly named Doctors Gully, it soon became a landing point. In the early 1950s, a nearby resident started throwing bread scraps to the fish that would gather at high tide and in 1981, Aquascene Fish Feeding was established. Visitors can now stand in the shallows and hand feed the fish in the waters of this official marine sanctuary.
The Esplanade runs the length of the waterfront overlooking Darwin Harbour and alongside, Bicentennial Park is home to monuments and memorials as part of the WWII walking trail. Lookout Point is a good place to start.
With calm waters and stupendous scenery, it was time to serve drinks and nibbles.
Continuing down the coast toward the end of the park,
the Deckchair Cinema operates seven nights a week in the dry season. Established in 1954, Darwin’s only independent cinema gives audiences the chance to watch a diverse range of movies that would otherwise go unseen on the big screen.
Adjacent to the cinema, Parliament House was opened in 1994 on the site of the Darwin Post Office that was bombed in February 1942.
On the other side of the cinema, Government House is well hidden from view. It is the oldest European building in the Northern Territory and has been home to Government Residents and Administrators since 1871.
At the end of the Esplanade, Jervois Park marked our point of return
as the evening sun cast the cityscape in a new light.
The occupants of this fishing boat should probably have looked behind them.
On the horizon, eight jet skiers resembled the riders of the Apocolypse, fortunately not close enough to shatter the serenity.
Our few days at the Lake House remain in my memory as the most idyllic sojourn of our trip. On the southern shore of Lake Taupo, Motuoapa Bay is a tranquil cove that is situated to capture the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. A short stroll on our first evening delivered a fine example of things to come.
The bay is also the location of a fabulous marina and home to an assortment of pleasure craft. The $6 million redevelopment took 18 years from original plans to completion in November 2017. For those into statistics, over 39,000 cubic metres of sediment was removed from the original marina basin and channel before being turned into 5.5 acres of reclaimed land. Nearly 1,600 square metres of concrete floating docks offer 158 berths. There was very little activity during our stay.
The next morning, with cups of tea in hand to warm against the chill, we ventured out in the early light.
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the serenity.
Taking a closer look at the marina,
I wondered about the intriguing names on some of the boats.
We returned to our base to prepare for an exciting day out at Tongariro National Park.
The following day was one of relaxation and, as the light began to fade, we couldn’t resist one last dose of the stunning surrounds. Canada geese and black swans were seeking their supper in the spotlight of a descending Sol.
Another round of the marina and still no sign of life.
We spied a few of these unusual birds and have since discovered they are California quail, an introduced game bird with an interesting head dress.
Reluctant as we were to leave Motuoapa Bay and the Lake House, there were new adventures awaiting.
Our days at Montepozzo were very busy, we wanted to see as much as we could in the limited time we had. It was always a pleasure to return to base in time to sit at the table in the loggia, enjoy aperitivo and reflect on the events of the day.
The late spring skies were usually clear but on this particular day we were rewarded with a spectacular sunset.
Bali is a fascinating paradox but one thing we could always rely on was the food. We had many fabulous dining experiences, the surroundings equally as impressive as the menus. Breeze at The Samaya at Seminyak was one of the most memorable. The sun was already low when we arrived, the palm trees reflecting in the calm waters of the pool.
Our party of eight had a very special table under our own canopy.
We had wonderful views of the beachside diners, the ocean and the gorgeous sunset.
The food was beautifully presented, Michael started with his favourite sashimi and I opted to sample everything for the main course.
The resort is set in two hectares of tropical gardens, pools and villas inviting a state of ultimate relaxation. The setting of the sun certainly didn’t diminish the enchanting ambience.
If we were ever to visit Bali again, it would be nice to stay at The Samaya or at least return and relive this lovely evening.